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Did in 70 days what others failed at for 70 years: Modi cheers Article 370 move on I-Day

Scrapping Article 370 and 35A have made the idea of ‘one nation, one Constitution’ a reality, Modi said in his I-Day speech Thursday.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his Independence Day speech Thursday to give his government a pat on the back for abrogating Article 370 and Article 35A, which gave J&K special privileges.

Is sarkar ki pehchan hai ki yeh samasya ko tangte nai hai, talte nai hai, paalte nai hai (This government is known as one that doesn’t avoid or postpone problems),” he said, “What did not happen in 70 years despite numerous dialogues and efforts, we did in 70 days,” he added.

Scrapping Article 370 and 35A have made the idea of ‘one nation, one Constitution’ a reality, Modi said.

“A lot of difficulties were faced to do away with Article 370 and 35A. But today, at Lal Quila on the day of India’s Independence, I say with pride that ‘one nation, one constitution’ is now a reality,” he added, saying it had resulted in the integration of the country.

“We have fulfilled the dream of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The move will hold the country together as a strong nation. It will cement it,” he said.

Now, he added, India will soon move ahead to achieve of ‘one nation, one election’, a pet initiative of the Modi government that seeks to unify the staggered assembly and parliamentary poll calendar into a giant, one-time exercise.

‘Everyone wanted it’

In a controversial move last week, the Modi government had abrogated Article 370, which guaranteed limited autonomy to J&K, and Article 35A, which granted permanent residents of the state some special privileges.

It also bifurcated the state into two union territories, Jammu & Kashmir being one, and Ladakh the other.

The fact that the decision to scrap Articles 370 and 35A was supported by a two-third majority in both Houses of Parliament, Modi said, meant that everyone had wanted the two constitutional provisions gone but did not know how to go about it.

“Everyone wanted it, but were waiting to see who takes the initiative to go ahead,” he said. “In the last 70 years, governments made several attempts, but did not get the desired result. We have done it.”

The move, he added, would help Kashmir beat the terrorism and corruption it had suffered for decades, while ensuring that communities such as Dalits, Bakerwals, and Gujjars get their constitutional rights.

“J&K and Ladakh will now be given rights like any other citizen of India. They can now contribute to the growth of India,” Modi added.

Lashing out at those against the abrogation of Article 370, Modi asked, “The country is asking them, if Article 370 was so important, why, in the last 70 years, was it not made permanent? Why was it still temporary?

“You also know what happened (giving special status to J&K) was not right, but no one had the courage to make it right,” Modi said.

Also read: From AFSPA to street protests, Modi govt needs new thinking in J&K with Article 370 gone


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